The Penn Yan Mustang boy’s lacrosse team ran into a buzz saw of an opponent in the New York State High School Lacrosse Class D title game played at St. John Fisher’s Growney Stadium on Saturday morning.
The #1 ranked Pleasantville team from downstate Section I quickly showed why they deserved the number one ranking by downing the Penn Yan Mustangs by a convincing 16-2 score. The win was the Panther’s 21st of the season. They had lost only one game this season against powerful John Jay High School. That was back in the month of April. The victory gave the green-clad Panther’s their first New York State title in lacrosse. They also claimed the first ever Class D title. The D classification was added this year.
For the battling Mustangs from Penn Yan, the loss was disappointing for sure. But the Orange and Blue came into the 2018 season with a very young, inexperienced team with a lot of question marks. They had only four seniors on this year’s roster. They improved every week of the season and was playing their best lacrosse of the season when it counted the most — at the end.
Penn Yan won two, exciting, come-from-behind victories over Akron and Chenango Forks to reach the New York State title game. This came after claiming their 23rd Section V championship a week before. The young, upstart Mustangs were really playing with house money going into Saturday’s tilt against Pleasantville. The loss to the talented Panthers stung, no doubt, especially for the four seniors (Austin Blumbergs, Dylan Stape, Dakota Miller, and Keith Fuller), playing for the final time in Mustang colors. But the setback was not for lack of effort. They just ran into a better team that was on a mission. A season starts and progresses very rapidly. It can end all too soon, especially for the departing seniors. But Penn Yan stretched their season was far as they could. They just came up a bit short in the last game. They will be back.
If the game had been completed in one quarter, the Orange and Blue laxers could have been satisfied. They played the Pleasantville to a draw. The Panthers scored first at the 8 minute mark but Penn Yan countered with a goal from senior Austin Blumbergs. Conner Fingar set up the initial Penn Yan goal with an assist. This was Blumberg’s team-leading 50th goal of the season. Unfortunately, it would prove to be his last as a Mustang. Pleasantville regained the lead with a minute and a half left in the quarter. But once again, Colton Smith tied the game with an unassisted goal with just 40 seconds remaining. Penn Yan net-minder, Jeff Kinyoun made a fabulous stop with just 4 seconds left to maintain the tie. The first 12 minutes were in the books and the two teams were tied at 2-2. Unfortunately for the Penn Yan faithful, this would conclude the Mustang highlights for this game.
Pleasantville scored 5 unanswered goals in the second quarter to take a 7-2 lead at the half. The Panthers were not done scoring. They added 8 more goals in the 3rd quarter and tallied another goal in the 4th quarter to finish the 16-2 conquest. The Pleasantville defense was equally impressive, subduing the normally potent Mustang attack. They forced Penn Yan to make 10 turnovers in the first half and effectively controlled the ball in the second half. The day would totally belong to the Pleasantville Panthers. The 5-hour bus trip to Rochester did not seem to bother the downstate boys. The ride back to the Hudson River should be even easier.
Senior Austin Blumbergs' first quarter goal was his 50th of the season. He ended his Penn Yan career with 114 career goals. His next goal scored will be in college. Colton Smith scored the other Penn Yan goal. It was his 28th of the season. He will reprise his scoring role next year for the Mustangs. They would love it if it was in the 2019 Class D NYS championship game. Time will tell.